LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

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Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Insulin pump Alzheimer’s

See anything wrong with these two pictures?

In exhibit A, you’ll see the frickin’ tSlim is showing that there is 0.73 units of insulin “on board,” with a three hour and 34 minute active curve. So I must have taken SOME insulin today.

However, in exhibit B, you’ll see the pump has no memory of this. Or any other insulin today. Or any in the last week. Or in the last two weeks. Or even in the last month.

In the history section of the pump there is NOTHING. The delivery summary, bolus, basal, load, and BG history screens all say “no recent events” or “n/a.” The stupid pump has no recollection of anything that happened since I hooked her back up post-Snap. Apparently my pump can’t even remember being born.


My first clue as to what happened was in the alarm history, where I have a “Data Error Alert number 4” Message. The Complete History menu adds one little tidbit. Right before that data error there’s another alarm that says the pump’s data log was corrupted.

Lovely. Just fucking lovely. 

Of course, in the back of my mind I can’t help but wonder what else might have been corrupted at the same time.

Checking the manual, on page 124, I’m told that this alarm happens when the pump  “encounters” a “condition” that “causes a potential loss of data.” Ya think? The manual helpfully suggests I make sure the data in my personal profile is “accurate” after getting such an alarm. You know, all those little things like how much insulin the pump is delivering into my body and such. Of course, when was the last time any of you wrote down your pump settings?

So I call Tandem.

And I work my way through the automated “press 1 if…” menus. And after a time I actually get a perfectly lovely human being who is one of us.

And after giving her my pump’s serial number and answering the typical 20-questions she tells me she’s never heard of such a thing and puts me on hold to check with the higher-ups.

Tandem has quite excellent planetarium-style hold music.

In the end I’m told that what’s happened is “quite odd,” and that my human’s supervisor had only heard of it happening one other time, “back in the early days.”

Uh... Wait a minute.

How long has this pump been around? Does something so new qualify for even having “early days?” To me early days is Wyatt Earp, the Wright Flyer, or maybe Sputnik. But not last year.

Anyway, of course, they want the pump back for analysis and will send me a replacement. Deja-Medtroinc. Long time readers will know what I'm talking about. Will I keep wearing this pump until the reinforcements show up? No. Not this time.

Truth be told, I was taking it off when the lightning struck. Driven insane by the number of “are you sure” screens between me and my insulin, I had decided to whip out my pen and my RapidCalc Ap again for a time. I was trying to look up my daily basal totals to calculate a Levemir shot for this evening, when the pump crapped out on me.

I don’t know if that’s a good omen or a bad omen--but I guess it’s good timing.


Blogger DB said...

that sucks - wonder if you will get any root cause feedback ... I doubt it....

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Mike Hoskins said...

I wonder if it has anything to do with the "Shelf Mode" being used... some other fellow DOCers have said they encountered errors and issues after putting it to sleep and waking it up. And then, there's the worries that it might be cooking insulin when being charged, that there might be air bubble issues we just don't know about, and who knows what else. Yes, I agree, Wil. I wouldn't use it after that. And WTF is considered "early days" when they're just about a year on the market? Yikes. I've got my own issues with the t:slim, which I wrote about today, and while I've not yet experienced this problem, it makes me all the more skeptical about continuing on and buying this pump for myself...

3:36 PM  
Blogger Wil said...

OK: even though I didn't make a copy of my recent pump program I am 100% sure that I would never use a fatal (for me) CF of 35. But that's what was in the active profile after the incident! More than just the history got scrambled here....

9:06 PM  
Anonymous Mike H said...

As I currently stuff my disconnected t:slim under a pillow to make it STFU and stop annoying me before a cartridge change, I have now officially decided: Nope, not gonna buy it.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Jonah said...

When I used the Guardian (2008), my Guardian receivers broke a lot. Like, I went through one receiver per two sensors or so.

Eventually the minimed people explained to me that when a person goes some time between using one of those things like a pump or CGM monitor that they make, and the battery dies, the hardware/software gets really really iffy. They apparently don't really plan for you to take it off, let the battery die, and then want it to work again in two weeks when you once again want to problem solve your basal issues.
They said they assumed that like pump users, CGM users would consider a dead battery an emergency and would replace it ASAP. Well.... not exactly!

I have also found that using the "shut off" option on the Dexcom tends to make my receivers show nothing but error messages fairly soon after I turn them back on.

I think you are seeing this on the tandem BECAUSE you stopped using it.

8:49 PM  

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